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Taliban bombs Pakistani troops, declares 'war'

Pakistani security officials examine a damaged truck at the site of a bomb explosion in Peshawar that killed 14 people.

Associated Press

Pakistani security officials examine a damaged truck at the site of a bomb explosion in Peshawar that killed 14 people.

Associated Press

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — The Taliban declared "open war" against Pakistan on Tuesday in response to military offensives in the northwest, saying it staged a bombing that destroyed an air force truck and killed 14 people, including a child.

The offensive in the Bajur tribal area reportedly has killed 160 and caused tens of thousands to flee to camps farther north.

The blast in Peshawar, main city of the restive frontier with Afghanistan, escalated the conflict in a region where the new government is struggling to contain increasingly brazen militants.

"It is an open war between us and them," Pakistani Taliban spokesman Maulvi Umar told the Associated Press. "If these kinds of operations continue against us in Swat and in the tribal areas, we will continue this."

The bomb hit the air force truck as it crossed a bridge on the outskirts of Peshawar. The blast tore a big hole in the bridge deck and reduced the Mazda truck to a smoldering wreck. The site was littered with debris, blood and a mangled motorcycle.

A provincial government spokesman, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, said the blast killed 14 people, most of them air force personnel, and wounded about 12.

In a statement, President Pervez Musharraf "reiterated the resolve of the nation to remain determined and not yield to pressures created by such heinous crimes."

Musharraf faces possible impeachment by the governing coalition that came to power after February elections. Many Pakistanis blame his alliance with Washington after the Sept. 11 attack on the United States for rising militancy in the country.

Al-Qaida leader reportedly killed

Leading al-Qaida commander Abu Saeed al-Masri, reputed to be No. 3 in the terrorist group, was killed in fighting in Pakistan's northwest fringe, according to local news reports. Masri, identified in news reports as Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, is al-Qaida's commander in Afghanistan and its financial expert.

McClatchy Newspapers

Taliban bombs Pakistani troops, declares 'war' 08/12/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 11:20am]

    

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